08:26 GMT18 January 2021
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    The first troops of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion battle group will arrive in Lithuania at the beginning of February, the country’s Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the statement, a part of the eFP troops from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands already deployed in the Baltic country together with the US and Czech rotation troops would line up for a formal welcoming ceremony at the Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonusas Radvila Training Regiment.

    "On February 7 President of the Republic of Lithuania HE Dalia Grybauskaitė will welcome the first troops of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battalion battle group and allied rotational force upon their deployment in Lithuania," the statement read.

    The German and Lithuanian defense ministers, Ursula von der Leyen and Raimundas Karoblis, Commander of NATO eFP battalion battle group and the German contingent in Lithuania Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Huber will also welcome the NATO eFP troops, according to the statement.

    Since 2014, NATO has been building up its military presence in Europe, especially in Eastern European countries neighboring Russia, using Moscow’s alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict as a pretext. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims and warned NATO that the military buildup on Russia’s borders is provocative and threatens the existing strategic balance of power.

    During the last NATO summit in July, NATO resolved to strengthen its military presence in Eastern Europe on a rotational basis with four battalions in Poland and in the Baltic nations. During the 2014 summit, NATO established a 5,000-strong Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in response to the alleged Russian threat.

     

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    Tags:
    NATO, Russia, Lithuania
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